1981 NBA draft
General information
SportBasketball
Date(s)June 9, 1981
LocationFelt Forum, New York City, New York
Network(s)USA Network
Overview
223 total selections in 10 rounds
LeagueNBA
First selectionMark Aguirre, Dallas Mavericks
← 1980
1982 →

The 1981 NBA draft was the 35th annual draft of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The draft was held on June 9, 1981, before the 1981–82 season. The draft was broadcast in the United States on the USA Network.[1] In this draft, 23 NBA teams took turns selecting amateur U.S. college basketball players and other eligible players, including international players. The first two picks in the draft belonged to the teams that finished last in each conference, with the order determined by a coin flip.[2] The Dallas Mavericks won the coin flip and were awarded the first overall pick, while the Detroit Pistons were awarded the second pick.[3] The remaining first-round picks and the subsequent rounds were assigned to teams in reverse order of their win–loss record in the previous season. A player who had finished his four-year college eligibility was automatically eligible for selection. Before the draft, five college underclassmen announced that they would leave college early and would be eligible for selection.[4] The draft consisted of 10 rounds comprising the selection of 223 players.

The Dallas Mavericks used their first pick to draft 1980 Naismith College Player of the Year Mark Aguirre from DePaul University. Aguirre, who had just finished his junior season in college, became the second underclassman to be drafted first overall, after Magic Johnson in 1979. The Detroit Pistons used the second overall pick to draft Isiah Thomas, a sophomore guard from Indiana University. Thomas had just won the 1981 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championship with Indiana and was named as the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. The New Jersey Nets used the third pick to draft another underclassman, Buck Williams, from the University of Maryland. Williams went on to win the Rookie of the Year Award and was also selected to the All-Star Game in his rookie season.[5] This draft marked the first time that the first three selections were college underclassmen.[6] Danny Ainge, the 1981 Wooden College Player of the Year, was selected in the second round with the 31st pick by the Boston Celtics.[7] Ainge had been playing professional baseball since 1979 with the Toronto Blue Jays in the Major League Baseball (MLB) while also playing college basketball at Brigham Young University. He reportedly preferred to continue his baseball career, but the Celtics successfully persuaded him to play basketball instead.[8][9][10] He is one of only twelve athletes who have played in both the NBA and MLB.[11][12][13]

Key

Pos. G F C
Position Guard Forward Center
^ Denotes player who has been inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
* Denotes player who has been selected for at least one All-Star Game and All-NBA Team
+ Denotes player who has been selected for at least one All-Star Game
# Denotes player who has never appeared in an NBA regular season or playoff game

Draft

A man, wearing a blue jersey with a word "PISTONS" and the number "23" written in the front, is trying to dunk a basketball.
Mark Aguirre was selected first overall by the Dallas Mavericks.
A man, wearing a black suit and white shirt, is standing on a basketball court while shouting and pointing at someone outside the picture.
Isiah Thomas was selected second overall by the Detroit Pistons.
A man, wearing a white jersey, is shooting a basketball.
Albert King was selected 10th overall by the New Jersey Nets.
A man, wearing a green hat and white shirt, is standing on top of a parade float in celebration of winning a championship.
Danny Ainge was selected 31st overall by the Boston Celtics.
Jay Triano, the 179th pick, never played in the NBA but was the head coach of NBA team Toronto Raptors from 2008 to 2011 and has coached in the NBA since 2002.
Round Pick Player Pos. Nationality Team School/club team
1 1 Mark Aguirre+ G/F  United States Dallas Mavericks DePaul (Jr.)
1 2 Isiah Thomas^ G  United States Detroit Pistons Indiana (So.)
1 3 Buck Williams* F/C  United States New Jersey Nets Maryland (Jr.)
1 4 Al Wood G/F  United States Atlanta Hawks (from Cleveland via Philadelphia, Portland and Chicago)[a] North Carolina (Sr.)
1 5 Danny Vranes F  United States Seattle SuperSonics (from Utah)[b] Utah (Sr.)
1 6 Orlando Woolridge F  United States Chicago Bulls (from Atlanta)[a] Notre Dame (Sr.)
1 7 Steve Johnson+ F/C  United States Kansas City Kings (from Seattle via New York)[c] Oregon State (Sr.)
1 8 Tom Chambers* F/C  United States San Diego Clippers Utah (Sr.)
1 9 Rolando Blackman+ G  Panama
 United States[1]
Dallas Mavericks (from Denver)[d] Kansas State (Sr.)
1 10 Albert King G/F  United States New Jersey Nets (from Golden State via Portland)[e] Maryland (Sr.)
1 11 Frank Johnson G  United States Washington Bullets Wake Forest (Sr.)
1 12 Kelly Tripucka+ G/F  United States Detroit Pistons (from Kansas City)[f] Notre Dame (Sr.)
1 13 Danny Schayes F/C  United States Utah Jazz (from Houston)[g] Syracuse (Sr.)
1 14 Herb Williams F/C  United States Indiana Pacers Ohio State (Sr.)
1 15 Jeff Lamp G/F  United States Portland Trail Blazers Virginia (Sr.)
1 16 Darnell Valentine G  United States Portland Trail Blazers (from Chicago)[a] Kansas (Sr.)
1 17 Kevin Loder G/F  United States Kansas City Kings (from New York via Cleveland)[h] Alabama State (Sr.)
1 18 Ray Tolbert F  United States New Jersey Nets (from San Antonio)[i] Indiana (Sr.)
1 19 Mike McGee G/F  United States Los Angeles Lakers Michigan (Sr.)
1 20 Larry Nance+ F/C  United States Phoenix Suns Clemson (Sr.)
1 21 Alton Lister F/C  United States Milwaukee Bucks Arizona State(Sr.)
1 22 Franklin Edwards G  United States Philadelphia 76ers Cleveland State (Sr.)
1 23 Charles Bradley G  United States Boston Celtics Wyoming (Sr.)
2 24 Jay Vincent F  United States Dallas Mavericks Michigan State (Sr.)
2 25 Tracy Jackson G/F  United States Boston Celtics (from Detroit)[j] Notre Dame (Sr.)
2 26 Brian Jackson# F  United States Portland Trail Blazers (from New Jersey via Indiana)[k] Utah State (Sr.)
2 27 Howard Wood F  United States Utah Jazz Tennessee (Sr.)
2 28 Gene Banks G/F  United States San Antonio Spurs (from Cleveland via Los Angeles and Chicago)[l] Duke (Sr.)
2 29 Eddie Johnson G/F  United States Kansas City Kings (from Atlanta)[m] Illinois (Sr.)
2 30 Ed Rains F  United States San Antonio Spurs (from Seattle via Chicago)[l] South Alabama (Sr.)
2 31 Danny Ainge+ G/F  United States Boston Celtics (from San Diego)[n] Brigham Young (Sr.)
2 32 Mike Olliver# G  United States Chicago Bulls (from Denver,[o] traded to Indiana)[A] Lamar (Sr.)
2 33 Sam Williams F  United States Golden State Warriors (from Washington)[p] Arizona State (Sr.)
2 34 Ken Green F  United States Denver Nuggets (from Golden State via Utah)[q] Pan American (Sr.)
2 35 Charles Davis F  United States Washington Bullets (from Houston)[r] Vanderbilt (Sr.)
2 36 Ray Blume G  United States Indiana Pacers (from Kansas City via Cleveland,[h] traded to Chicago)[A] Oregon State (Sr.)
2 37 Al Leslie# G  United States Indiana Pacers Bucknell (Sr.)
2 38 Clyde Bradshaw# G  United States Atlanta Hawks (from Chicago)[a] DePaul (Sr.)
2 39 Harvey Knuckles# F  United States Los Angeles Lakers (from Portland via Detroit)[s] Toledo (Sr.)
2 40 Greg Cook# F  United States New York Knicks LSU (Sr.)
2 41 Claude Gregory F  United States Washington Bullets (from San Antonio)[t] Wisconsin (Sr.)
2 42 Elvis Rolle# F/C  Bahamas Los Angeles Lakers Florida State (Sr.)
2 43 Elston Turner G/F  United States Dallas Mavericks (from Phoenix)[u] Mississippi (Sr.)
2 44 Steve Lingenfelter F  United States Washington Bullets (from Milwaukee via Kansas City and New Jersey)[v] South Dakota State (Sr.)
2 45 Ed Turner# F  United States Houston Rockets (from Boston)[w] Texas A&I (Sr.)
2 46 Vernon Smith# F  United States Philadelphia 76ers Texas A&M (Sr.)
3 47 Art Housey# C  United States Dallas Mavericks Kansas (Sr.)
3 48 Mike Ferrara# G  United States Washington Bullets Colgate (Sr.)
3 49 David Burns G  United States New Jersey Nets Saint Louis (Sr.)
3 50 Derek Holcomb# C  United States Portland Trail Blazers Illinois (Sr.)
3 51 Zam Fredrick# G  United States Los Angeles Lakers South Carolina (Sr.)
3 52 Rudy Macklin G/F  United States Atlanta Hawks LSU (Sr.)
3 53 Mark Radford G  United States Seattle SuperSonics Oregon State (Sr.)
3 54 Jim Smith F  United States San Diego Clippers Ohio State (Sr.)
3 55 Mickey Dillard G  United States Cleveland Cavaliers (from Denver)[x] Florida State (Sr.)
3 56 Carlton Neverson# G  United States Golden State Warriors Pittsburgh (Sr.)
3 57 Frank Brickowski F/C  United States New York Knicks (from Washington)[y] Penn State (Sr.)
3 58 Curtis Berry# F  United States Kansas City Kings Missouri (Sr.)
3 59 Russell Bowers# F  United States Cleveland Cavaliers American (Sr.)
3 60 Purvis Miller# F  United States Indiana Pacers USC (Sr.)
3 61 Pétur Guðmundsson C  Iceland Portland Trail Blazers Washington (Sr.)
3 62 Sam Clancy# F  United States Phoenix Suns Pittsburgh (Sr.)
3 63 Wayne McKoy# F  United States New York Knicks St. John's (Sr.)
3 64 Tom Baker# G  United States San Antonio Spurs Eastern Kentucky (Sr.)
3 65 Ron Cornelius# F  United States Los Angeles Lakers Pacific (Sr.)
3 66 Craig Dykema F  United States Phoenix Suns Long Beach State (Sr.)
3 67 Mark Smith# F  United States Milwaukee Bucks Illinois (Sr.)
3 68 Ernest Graham# F  United States Philadelphia 76ers Maryland (Sr.)
3 69 John Johnson# G  United Kingdom Boston Celtics Michigan (Sr.)
4 70 Eddie Moss# G  United States Dallas Mavericks Syracuse (Sr.)
4 71 John May# C  United States Detroit Pistons South Alabama (Sr.)
4 72 Edmund Sherod G  United States New Jersey Nets VCU (Sr.)
4 73 Georgie Torres# G  Puerto Rico Utah Jazz Southern Nazarene (Sr.)
4 74 Ethan Martin# G  United States Cleveland Cavaliers LSU (Sr.)
4 75 Kevin Figaro# G  United States Atlanta Hawks Southwestern Louisiana (Sr.)
4 76 Lewis Lloyd G/F  United States Golden State Warriors (from Seattle)[z] Drake (Sr.)
4 77 Lee Raker# G  United States San Diego Clippers Virginia (Sr.)
4 78 Kenny Dennard F  United States Kansas City Kings (from Denver)[aa] Duke (Sr.)
4 79 Ron Davis# F  United States Washington Bullets Arizona (Sr.)
4 80 Terry Adolph# G  United States Golden State Warriors West Texas State (Sr.)
4 81 Larry Spriggs F  United States Houston Rockets Howard (Sr.)
4 82 B. B. Davis# F  United States Kansas City Kings Lamar (Sr.)
4 83 Rolando Frazer# F  Panama Indiana Pacers Briar Cliff (Sr.)
4 84 Oliver Lee# F  United States Chicago Bulls Marquette (Sr.)
4 85 Peter Verhoeven F  United States Portland Trail Blazers Fresno State (Sr.)
4 86 Alex Bradley F  United States New York Knicks Villanova (Sr.)
4 87 Earl Belcher# F  United States San Antonio Spurs St. Bonaventure (Sr.)
4 88 Kevin McKenna G/F  United States Los Angeles Lakers Creighton (Sr.)
4 89 Don Koonce# G  United States Detroit Pistons Charlotte (Sr.)
4 90 Kris Anderson# F  United States Milwaukee Bucks Florida State (Sr.)
4 91 Stanley Williams# F  United States Boston Celtics La Salle (Sr.)
4 92 Rynn Wright# F  United States Philadelphia 76ers Texas A&M (Sr.)
5 93 Pete Budko# F  United States Dallas Mavericks North Carolina (Sr.)
5 94 George DeVone# C  United States Detroit Pistons Charlotte (Sr.)
5 95 Joe Cooper F/C  United States New Jersey Nets Colorado (Sr.)
5 96 Kenny Page# G  United States Cleveland Cavaliers New Mexico (Jr.)
5 97 Mike Clark# F  United States Utah Jazz Oregon (Sr.)
5 98 Steve Krafcisin# F  United States Atlanta Hawks Iowa (Sr.)
5 99 Andra Griffin# F  United States Seattle SuperSonics Washington (Sr.)
5 100 Dennis Isbell# F  United States San Diego Clippers Memphis State (Sr.)
5 101 Willie Sims# G  United States
 Israel
Denver Nuggets LSU (Sr.)
5 102 Hank McDowell F/C  United States Golden State Warriors Memphis State (Sr.)
5 103 Garry Witts G/F  United States Washington Bullets Holy Cross (Sr.)
5 104 U.S. Reed# G  United States Kansas City Kings Arkansas (Sr.)
5 105 Hasan Houston# G  United States Houston Rockets Bradley (Sr.)
5 106 George Peterson# F  United States Indiana Pacers Jersey City State (Sr.)
5 107 Herb Andrew# G  United States Portland Trail Blazers South Alabama (Sr.)
5 108 Johnny Nash# F  United States Chicago Bulls Arizona State (Sr.)
5 109 Jim Wright# F  United States New York Knicks Rhode Island (Sr.)
5 110 Mike Rhodes# G  United States San Antonio Spurs Vanderbilt (Sr.)
5 111 Craig Watts# C  United States Los Angeles Lakers NC State (Sr.)
5 112 Paul Heuerman# C  United States Phoenix Suns Michigan (Sr.)
5 113 Kelvin Troy# F  United States Milwaukee Bucks Rutgers (Sr.)
5 114 Steve Craig# G  United States Philadelphia 76ers BYU (Sr.)
5 115 Glen Grunwald# F  United States
 Canada
Boston Celtics Indiana (Sr.)
6 116 Karl Bankowski# F  United States Dallas Mavericks Utah (Sr.)
6 117 Vince Brookins# F  United States Detroit Pistons Iowa (Sr.)
6 118 Kevin Lynam# G  United States New Jersey Nets La Salle (Sr.)
6 119 Kevin Sprewer# C  United States Utah Jazz Loyola Chicago (Sr.)
6 120 Aaron Strayhorn# G  United States Cleveland Cavaliers Hawaii (Sr.)
6 121 Darryl Warwick# G  United States Atlanta Hawks Hampton (Sr.)
6 122 Earl Banks# F  United States Seattle SuperSonics Auburn (Sr.)
6 123 Mike Pepper# G  United States San Diego Clippers North Carolina (Sr.)
6 124 Alonzo Weatherly# F  United States Denver Nuggets Denver (Sr.)
6 125 Robert Williams# F  United States Washington Bullets Grambling State (Sr.)
6 126 Carter Scott# G  United States Golden State Warriors Ohio State (Sr.)
6 127 Fred Cowan# G  United States Houston Rockets Kentucky (Sr.)
6 128 Brian Walker# G  United States Kansas City Kings Purdue (Sr.)
6 129 Robert Fronk# G  United States Indiana Pacers Washington (Sr.)
6 130 Roger Burkman G  United States Chicago Bulls Louisville (Sr.)
6 131 Roshern Amie# F  United States Portland Trail Blazers UTEP (Sr.)
6 132 John Blair# G  United States New York Knicks Monmouth (Sr.)
6 133 Northern Shavers# F  United States San Antonio Spurs Jackson State (Sr.)
6 134 Kevin Singleton# F  United States Los Angeles Lakers California (Sr.)
6 135 Pete Harris# G  United States Phoenix Suns Northeastern (Sr.)
6 136 Jo Jo Hunter# G  United States Milwaukee Bucks Colorado (Sr.)
6 137 Steve Waite# F  United States Boston Celtics Iowa (Sr.)
6 138 Michael Thomas# G  United States Philadelphia 76ers North Park (Sr.)
7 139 Danny Davis# F  United States Dallas Mavericks UNC Wilmington (Sr.)
7 140 Greg Nance# F  United States Detroit Pistons West Virginia (Sr.)
7 141 Rod Roberson# G  United States New Jersey Nets Northwestern (Sr.)
7 142 Andre Smith# F  United States Cleveland Cavaliers Nebraska (Sr.)
7 143 Mike Robinson# F  United States Utah Jazz Central Michigan (Sr.)
7 144 Kevin Vesey# C  United States Atlanta Hawks Iona (Sr.)
7 145 Tom Sienkiewicz# G  United States Seattle SuperSonics Villanova (Sr.)
7 146 Randy Johnson# G  United States San Diego Clippers Southern Colorado (Sr.)
7 147 Greg Manning# G  United States Denver Nuggets Maryland (Sr.)
7 148 Robbie Dosty# F  United States Golden State Warriors Arizona (Sr.)
7 149 Randy Martel# F  United States Washington Bullets Houston Baptist (Sr.)
7 150 Clinton Wheeler G  United States Kansas City Kings William Paterson (Sr.)
7 151 Joe Faine# G  United States Houston Rockets Bowling Green (Sr.)
7 152 Larry McKinney# F  United States Indiana Pacers Boise State (Sr.)
7 153 Julius Wayne# G  United States Portland Trail Blazers UTEP (Sr.)
7 154 Scott Williams# G  United States Chicago Bulls South Alabama (Sr.)
7 155 Terry Cramer# G  United States New York Knicks Ripon (Sr.)
7 156 Mark Minderman# F  United States San Antonio Spurs Northern Michigan (Sr.)
7 157 Larry Petty# C  United States Los Angeles Lakers Wisconsin (Sr.)
7 158 David Williams# F  United States Phoenix Suns Southern (Sr.)
7 159 Lewis Latimore# C  United States Milwaukee Bucks Virginia (Sr.)
7 160 John Crawford# F  United States Philadelphia 76ers Kansas (Sr.)
7 161 Tom Seaman# F  United States Boston Celtics Holy Cross (Sr.)
8 162 David Kennedy# G  United States Dallas Mavericks Cincinnati (Sr.)
8 163 Joe Schoen# F  United States Detroit Pistons Saint Francis (Sr.)
8 164 Ken Webb# F  United States New Jersey Nets Fairleigh Dickinson (Sr.)
8 165 Bobby Cattage F  United States Utah Jazz Auburn (Sr.)
8 166 Glenn Marcus# G  United States Cleveland Cavaliers UAB (Sr.)
8 167 Gilbert Salinas# C  United States Atlanta Hawks Notre Dame (Sr.)
8 168 Todd Haynes# F  United States San Diego Clippers Davidson (Sr.)
8 169 Curtis Redding# G  United States Denver Nuggets St. John's (Sr.)
8 170 Mike Howard# G  United States Washington Bullets Wofford (Sr.)
8 171 Yasutaka Okayama# C  Japan Golden State Warriors Sumitomo Metal Sparks (Japan)
8 172 Stanley Brewer# G  United States Houston Rockets West Georgia (Sr.)
8 173 Randy Smithson# G  United States Kansas City Kings Wichita State (Sr.)
8 174 Len Hatzenbeller# C  United States Indiana Pacers Drexel (Sr.)
8 175 Ben Mitchell# F  United States Chicago Bulls Alabama–Huntsville (Sr.)
8 176 John Smith# F  United States Portland Trail Blazers Saint Joseph's (Sr.)
8 177 Brian O'Connor# F  United States New York Knicks Thomas More (Sr.)
8 178 Bob Bartholomew# F  United States San Antonio Spurs San Diego (Sr.)
8 179 Jay Triano# G  Canada Los Angeles Lakers Simon Fraser (Sr.)
8 180 Steve Risley# F  United States Phoenix Suns Indiana (Sr.)
8 181 Mike Brkovich# G  Canada Milwaukee Bucks Michigan State (Sr.)
8 182 George Morrow# F  United States Boston Celtics Creighton (Sr.)
8 183 Frank Gilroy# F  United States Philadelphia 76ers St. John's (Sr.)
9 184 John Hollinden# C  United States Dallas Mavericks Southern Indiana (Sr.)
9 185 Eddie Baker# F  United States Detroit Pistons Alcorn State (Sr.)
9 186 Rudy Williams# F  United States New Jersey Nets Providence (Sr.)
9 187 Paul Roba# C  United States Cleveland Cavaliers Cleveland State (Sr.)
9 188 Ken Ollie# F  United States Utah Jazz Wyoming (Sr.)
9 189 Howard Thompkins# F  United States Atlanta Hawks Wagner (Sr.)
9 190 Art Jones# F  United States San Diego Clippers NC State (Sr.)
9 191 Andrew Burton# G  United States Denver Nuggets Austin Peay (Sr.)
9 192 Doug Murrey# F  United States Golden State Warriors San Jose State (Sr.)
9 193 Eddie Brown# G  United States Washington Bullets Valdosta State (Sr.)
9 194 Michael Perry# G  United States Kansas City Kings Richmond (Sr.)
9 195 Scott Whitley# F  United States Indiana Pacers William & Mary (Sr.)
9 196 Sid Williams# F  United States Portland Trail Blazers San Jose State (Sr.)
9 197 Terry Martin# G  United States Chicago Bulls Lambuth (Sr.)
9 198 Marty Headd# G  United States New York Knicks Syracuse (Sr.)
9 199 Leonel Marquetti# F  Cuba
 United States
San Antonio Spurs Hampton (Jr.)
9 200 Brian Johnson# F  United States Phoenix Suns Colorado (Sr.)
9 201 Chip Rucker# F  United States Milwaukee Bucks Northeastern (Sr.)
9 202 Ron Wister# C  United States Philadelphia 76ers Temple (Sr.)
9 203 Greg McCray# F  United States Boston Celtics VCU (Sr.)
10 204 Scott Bolanko# G  United States Dallas Mavericks Northern State (Sr.)
10 205 Melvin Maxwell# F  United States Detroit Pistons Western Michigan (Sr.)
10 206 Vic Sison# G  United States New Jersey Nets UCLA (Sr.)
10 207 Joe Merten# F  United States Utah Jazz Wisconsin–Eau Claire (Sr.)
10 208 Greg Boone# G  United States Cleveland Cavaliers Augsburg (Sr.)
10 209 Mike Frazier# C  United States Atlanta Hawks Georgetown (Sr.)
10 210 Tony Gwynn# G  United States San Diego Clippers San Diego State (Sr.)
10 211 Derrick Rowland G  United States Denver Nuggets Potsdam State (Sr.)
10 212 Ralton Way# F  United States Washington Bullets Houston Baptist (Sr.)
10 213 Barry Brooks# F  United States Golden State Warriors USC (Sr.)
10 214 Mark Wilson# G  United States Kansas City Kings Fort Hays State (Sr.)
10 215 Rodney Benson# F  United States Indiana Pacers Wright State (Sr.)
10 216 Kenny Easley# G  United States Chicago Bulls UCLA (Sr.)
10 217 Steve Cochran# G  United States Portland Trail Blazers Lewis & Clark (Sr.)
10 218 Kevin Rogers# C  United States New York Knicks Saint Peter's (Sr.)
10 219 Alvin Brooks# G  United States San Antonio Spurs Lamar (Sr.)
10 220 Felton Sealey# G  United States Phoenix Suns Oregon (Sr.)
10 221 Artie Green# G  United States Milwaukee Bucks Marquette (Sr.)
10 222 Kenny Matthews# G  United States Boston Celtics NC State (Sr.)
10 223 Pete Mullenberg# C  United States Philadelphia 76ers Delaware (Sr.)

Notable undrafted players

These players were not selected in the 1981 draft but played at least one game in the NBA.

Player Pos. Nationality School/club team
Ron Cavenall C  United States Texas Southern (Sr.)
Jerome Henderson C/F  United States New Mexico (Sr.)

Trades

Draft-day trades

The following trades involving drafted players were made on the day of the draft.

Pre-draft trades

Prior to the day of the draft, the following trades were made and resulted in exchanges of picks between the teams.

Draftee career notes

Isiah Thomas is the only player from this draft who has been inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame.[56] He was also named in the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History list announced at the league's 50th anniversary in 1996.[57] He spent his entire 13-year career with the Detroit Pistons and won two NBA championships. He also one Finals Most Valuable Player Award, five consecutive All-NBA Team selections and twelve consecutive All-Star Game selections.[58] After retiring as a player, Thomas went on to have a coaching career with the Indiana Pacers and the New York Knicks.[59] Mark Aguirre, the first pick, won two NBA championships with Thomas and the Pistons. His other achievements include three All-Star Game selections.[60] Buck Williams, the third pick, was selected to one All-NBA Team, three All-Star Games and four All-Defensive Teams.[5] Tom Chambers, the eighth pick, was selected to two All-NBA Teams and four All-Star Games.[61] Five other players from this draft, seventh pick Steve Johnson, ninth pick Rolando Blackman, 12th pick Kelly Tripucka, 20th pick Larry Nance and 31st pick Danny Ainge, were also selected to at least one All-Star Game each.[7][62][63][64][65] Eddie Johnson, the 29th pick, is the only other player from this draft who has won an annual NBA award as a player; he won the Sixth Man of the Year Award in 1989.[66] Aside from Thomas, four other players drafted also went on to have coaching careers in the NBA: Danny Ainge, 11th pick Frank Johnson, 14th pick Herb Williams and 179th pick Jay Triano.[67][68][69][70]

In the eighth round, the Golden State Warriors used the 171st pick to selected Yasutaka Okayama, a Japanese basketball player who was measured at 7 feet 8 inches (2.34 m) and 330 pounds (150 kg).[71][72] Okayama, who attended and played junior varsity basketball at the University of Portland for one and a half years in 1976 as an exchange student, declined to try out for the Warriors and never played in the NBA.[73] He is the tallest person ever drafted and would have been the tallest player in the NBA had he played in the league.[74] The San Diego Clippers used their last pick in the draft, the 210th pick, to draft Tony Gwynn, who starred at both baseball and basketball at San Diego State University.[71] Gwynn was also selected in the 1981 MLB draft by the San Diego Padres. He opted to play baseball and ended up playing 20 seasons with the Padres. He received multiple awards and honors during his playing career, is one of only 28 players in MLB history with 3,000 career hits, and was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame at his first opportunity in 2007.[75] Kenny Easley, a college football star from the University of California, Los Angeles, was selected by the Chicago Bulls with the 216th pick in the 10th round.[76] Easley, who was selected fourth in the 1981 National Football League (NFL) Draft by the Seattle Seahawks, played seven seasons with the Seahawks and received several awards and honors before retiring in 1988 due to kidney problems that eventually led to a transplant.[77][78]

Early entrants

College underclassmen

The following college basketball players successfully applied for early draft entrance.[79]

Notes

^ 1: Rolando Blackman was born in Panama, but grew up in the United States and has represented the United States national team.[80][81]

See also

References

General
  • "Complete First Round Results 1980–89". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Archived from the original on March 21, 2010. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  • "1981 NBA Draft". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  • "1977–1981 NBA Drafts". The Association for Professional Basketball Research. Archived from the original on November 16, 2010. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
Specific
  1. ^ Simmons, Bill (July 12, 2002). "Let's go to the tape". ESPN.com. Retrieved December 1, 2010.
  2. ^ "Evolution of the Draft and Lottery". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Archived from the original on December 3, 2010. Retrieved December 1, 2010.
  3. ^ "Mavericks Win First Draft Pick". The New York Times. May 1, 1981. Retrieved December 1, 2010.
  4. ^ "Early Entry Candidate History". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Archived from the original on September 14, 2009. Retrieved December 1, 2010.
  5. ^ a b "Buck Williams Statistics". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved December 1, 2010.
  6. ^ Wilbon, Michael (April 15, 1993). "Draft is not for everybody". The Milwaukee Journal. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: The Journal Company. Retrieved December 1, 2010.
  7. ^ a b "Danny Ainge Statistics". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
  8. ^ "Danny Ainge Statistics and History". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
  9. ^ Ulman, Howarn (June 10, 1981). "Celtics Gamble on Danny Ainge". Lewiston Daily Sun. Lewiston-Auburn, Maine: Sun Media Group. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
  10. ^ "Back in the game". Sports Illustrated. Time Warner Company. May 9, 2003. Archived from the original on November 3, 2012. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
  11. ^ "Sports Hot Line". Beaver County Times. Beaver, Pennsylvania: Calkins Media. November 1, 1981. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
  12. ^ "Hendrickson Becomes Latest to Play In Both NBA and Major League Baseball". WSU Cougars. CBS Interactive. August 9, 2002. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
  13. ^ Crowe, Jerry (August 13, 2002). "The Inside Track; Morning Briefing; New Coach Pulls the Strings in Washington". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on March 2, 2012. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
  14. ^ "Ray Blume Statistics". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  15. ^ "Al Wood Statistics". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  16. ^ "Kelvin Ransey Statistics". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  17. ^ "Lionel Hollins Statistics". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  18. ^ a b "Terry Furlow Statistics". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  19. ^ a b "Slick Watts Statistics". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  20. ^ "Joe Meriweather Statistics". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  21. ^ "Lonnie Shelton Statistics". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  22. ^ "Kiki Vandeweghe Statistics". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  23. ^ "Maurice Lucas Statistics". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  24. ^ "Raymond Townsend Statistics". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  25. ^ "Leon Douglas Statistics". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  26. ^ "James Edwards Statistics". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  27. ^ "Scott Wedman Statistics". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  28. ^ "Randy Smith Statistics". basketball-reference.com. Archived from the original on December 4, 2010. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  29. ^ "George Johnson Statistics". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  30. ^ "Chris Ford Statistics". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  31. ^ "Clemon Johnson Statistics". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  32. ^ a b "John Williamson Statistics". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
  33. ^ "Larry Kenon Statistics". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved December 8, 2010.
  34. ^ "Dennis Awtrey Statistics". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved December 8, 2010.
  35. ^ "Mark Landsberger Statistics". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved December 8, 2010.
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